Evicting a racially abusive tenant

by Readers Question

12:41 PM, 12th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Evicting a racially abusive tenant

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Evicting a racially abusive tenant

One of my tenants has been charged with racially abusing one of my other tenants. Evicting a racially abusive tenant

Can I ask him to leave immediately because if he returns to the house there are going to be obvious problems or must I give him notice?

He has a standard tenancy agreement which clearly prohibits antisocial behaviour likely to cause another tenant alarm or distress.

Thanks

Hendry


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Lisé Willcox

23:36 PM, 13th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Bail conditions are placed on the defendant not anyone else.

I doubt the court or the police could get bail conditions to stop the defendant returning home, this is not reasonable to answer Marks query. It does happen in domestic disputes but not where there are two separate front doors.

Racial discrimination is on race... They could be the same 'colour' by the way I think you mean 'ethnicity' though. People of 'colour' is a term used in the USA.

I do not believe LL can be compelled to evict the offender (defendant if pre trial) however if the rent agreement states that unreasonable behaviour etc is disallowed, and I suspect it would be written in there in some format then the LL has a responsibility to consider it, i cant see it being compulsory though. This is a civil matter so the police won't be concerned, however they will deal with ongoing offences which could cause the LL problems... Eg breach of Bail, warrant executions, ie door damage....the fact that future tenants may not want to move in if the LL is not interested in well behaved tenants feelings.

I had this happen with a tenant who had a couple of domestics, an all night party and a police visit. The neighbours complained to me... I warned him that his behaviour was upsetting the road, he behaved for a while, then got into a couple of weeks arrears and I evicted him. I won't have disruptive tenants as it makes other people's lives miserable. I'm fortunate that out of 9 properties in 8 years we have had only one instance. 3 of them are 100% housing benefit, there have been no issues there. I did have an issue with drugs being smoked and anti social behaviour at a neighbouring property to one of my tenants. I did a land registry check, wrote to the owner/landlord and he sorted his tenants before the police got involved. So I have been fortunate.

Jane Wild

14:29 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lise Willcox" at "13/08/2013 - 23:36":

Dear Lisa,

You mention evicting your disruptive tenant but presumably you had to allow for 2 months' notice.

I am a landlady who is currently experiencing problems with a tenant who is on licence. He is sharing a house with African tenants. He seems to have OCD - to the extent that he constantly cleans the house and even removes a spoon from the work surface if it is left there by another tenant. He constantly complains that the other tenants are not doing any cleaning but he does not allow them to.

More worringly, there have been 3 incidents where he has shouted at/threatened the tenants and my partner who is also the landlord. On the first occasion I called the Police and they said it was a landlord/tenant matter. On the second occasion, the tenants reported to us about his aggressive behaviour and unsavoury comments to them and he apologised. Last Friday night, he kicked off again and the tenant phoned the Police, who came round but again said it was a landlord/tenant matter.

We have served notice on the tenant but of course it is not easy to find alternative accommodation. In the meantime, the other tenants have told us they are going to leave if he does not. My overriding concern is that there will be more trouble but that again the Police won't get involved. Also, we pride ourselves on the service we give to our tenants but they must feel quite let down to want to leave too.

The person's Probation Officer has said the Police will arrest him because he is on licence - but do we have to wait for another incident? Is there anyway we can get him to leave before the end of the notice period?

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Mark Alexander

14:40 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jane Wild" at "15/08/2013 - 14:29":

Hi Jane

For the benefit of your other tenants, your own sanity and your cashflow if he ends up the only person left in the property, have you considered bribing him to surrender his tenancy?

I appreciate that it doesn't feel right to reward bad behaviour but when needs must ...
.

Lisé Willcox

15:56 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Hi Jane, this is a difficult one, I agree with Mark in a way but the man may take the money and still return demanding his rights.

If the tenant is abusive towards you the police will say it's civil as your motives are to keep the house orderly or defend your interests. If however the tenant approaches you outside of his home and the matter is personal that is possibly harassment as per the Act, however the pattern so far is that you have intervened and he has reacted so that's equal, a bit like a text conversation/argument the police are only looking for direct one sided stuff, the Act was bourne out of the complaints of stalking ... But has proved useful over the years in dealing with
However if your other tenants feel harassed under the terms of the Act then they need to contact the police with a diary type list of events. If they can argue a course of conduct then the police should act upon it. If it is racist the offence becomes aggravated so they should be intrested. It is their home too. You have taken all the legal steps you can as a land lord; you are evicting him. That regrettably takes time. If he does do something racist or under the harassment Act or indeed any offence .. the victim of that offence must complain, not you on their behalf though you reporting it may be used, dependent on local policy.

Personally I'd also be on at Probation to get him out before he is arrested and returned to prison, I don't know their powers however I feel you could argue a duty of care on his and the other residents behalf.
If he is out on licence presumably for a violent offence I would see if there are terms of conditional behaviour for this, the Home Office have released him.
I wish you luck and feel immensely sorry for your other tenants. If you feel that the police are skirting around the issue, then ask for the duty Inspector, this rank deals with complaints. Sometimes a neighbourhood duty Inspector is the better option. If you are aware that your tenants are suffering racist abuse but won't report it, I would suggest you inform the police Inspector, who may visit the victims to check on what is happening. It depends on their local policy.
Regards my tennant... He went into arrears in the end. I gave him two months notice. The day it was 8 weeks of arrears I made a complaint in writing to housing benefit.. Due to the 8 weeks passing the housing benefit was then paid direct. The tenant had sole custody of a young child. I phoned housing and explained that the welfare of the child was paramount and asked them to consider this. They did, a couple months went by, eventually they gave him keys to a flat ten miles away. He therefore had keys to both properties but was in no hurry to move as he had no money to pay a removal firm. We offered to do this for him as we had a truck, it took a day. Before we started loading my husband asked for the keys back and asked that he sign a form stating anything left was unwanted and he was vacating. He had already informed us he would not be taking 5 of the 7 large TV's in the house! He did sign. My husband and the tenant loaded the truck and the tenant was a passenger to his new home. The whole way he was on and off his Apple phone... Anyway all went well and they shook hands and we then took two weeks to redecorate the house taking advantage of the gap we
Installed new central heating, as although the system was adequate it was a back boiler.. It was a good opportunity to do it. One day a neighbours daughter knocked on the door to ask about a tenancy as they knew what had happened and that person became our new wonderful tenant. However the housing office did not pay the last week of rent as there was a cross over... I wrote stating they had agreed to pay the rent direct,I produced the piece of paper he had signed which had been dated and I advised that as we were the primary landlord being paid direct that the HB pay up.... They did, so all n all a little bit of kindness at the end stood us in very good stead indeed. I learnt a lot.

I heard that he defaulted on his next rent and was again evicted, he lives somewhere else now, the child is well however as I am friendly with her grandmother.

This is a long story, I have since made it my policy to try to get on with difficult tenants, I don't think I'd ever cope with an HMO and I'd worry about having offenders on license. I wish you luck with the eviction.

David Sweeney

22:24 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lise Willcox" at "15/08/2013 - 15:56":

Interesting post Lise. FWIW, the answer to "I agree with Mark in a way but the man may take the money and still return demanding his rights" is to get the tenants signature on a deed of surrender (witnessed) before handing over the dough.

For every one we sell £5 goes to "Chelseas Angels" childrens cancer charity. http://www.tenancyservices.co.uk/products/deed-of-surrend

Lisé Willcox

22:29 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

In wondering who this Lisa is.... Lol or is everyone E blind... Call me picky but I is xxx

Lisé Willcox

22:33 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

I just saw the idea Dave just put up I will grab some of those ! Nice a charity is involved well done !

Mark Alexander

22:55 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dave Reaney" at "15/08/2013 - 22:24":

Cheeky link Dave but very relevant so Moderator says YES.

Just one problem, there is a 404 error on your link. For some reason the end of your posts are getting chopped off.

Try posting the link again.

May I have a look at the document please? I promise not to sell or distribute or otherwise abuse your copyright and if I ever need to use it I will happily pay for it. I would just like to see it to satisfy myself if it is to be made available for sale on this website, I'm sure you will understand.
.

David Sweeney

23:21 PM, 15th August 2013
About 7 years ago

Link Reposted http://www.tenancyservices.co.uk/products/deed-of-surrender and check your email Mark, I have sent you a download link.

Ian Ringrose

9:23 AM, 16th August 2013
About 7 years ago

The risk with a “deed of surrender” is that the tenant can claim they felt forced to sign it, then it is not valid. Unless the weaker party has independent legal advice, it is very hard from the stronger party to prove that the weaker party did an aciton out of free will.

That is why employers will often pay for their employers (soon to be ex) to have independent legal advice, before getting them to sign a “shut up and leave document”.

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